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East Brimstone offers Dave/Nick/Ed his seasonal advice

December 31st, 2010

Cameron – The years of Big Society?

You cannot just speak with a passion, but without sense or proportion. You need intellectual basis to your arguments in order to win the electorate to them through slogans and ideas wire tapped into that intellectual base.

Without intellectual basis sold to electorate, danger is the Cameron government will ruin its electoral prospects as into ideological void voters instead identify this government as obsessing with price tags, not understanding the value of the merchandise. Starting with an aircraft carrier without planes, more examples build a picture with which historians encapsulate “The Cameron Years.”

Also has too much pain been loaded into the early years of this parliament purely out of the National Interest? To get it wrong, inflict pain on voters and suffer worse economic performance than our competitors and come under attack for wasting money through rushed reform could spell electoral defeat, the same reform achieved together with with electoral success with a more conservative approach to it.

David Cameron: don’t take popularity for granted, there is work to be done connecting Cameron ideology with the electorate, and that may mean pacing reform a bit more cautiously.

Nick Clegg – it might get tricky

What rescues the LibDems is they came into coalition in the “National Interest” to sort out the economic mess left by Labour?

The LibDems need upturn in the economy, but also need to convince those who supported them for ideological reasons there was moderating influence on the ideology of the coalition. To borrow from lucid post by Kieron on Dec21st “the country is splitting into two camps… one accepts the policies of the government as necessary to deal with mess left by Labour – other sees the governments policies as ideological, moving too far and too fast. …in first camp you vote Conservative …in the second vote Labour. Why vote Lib Dem?”

Clearly some LibDem voters not convinced they are actually having a positive influence across government policy – if privately LibDem MPs feel cutting to smaller state inconsistent with social liberalism cornerstone to their own political beliefs and values they are going to need to be good salesman.

Nick Clegg: a tricky year ahead – since early 1980s a social liberal policy platform opposing what David Steel called “apartheid of the pocket” more recently opposition to tuition fees, was focal to your electoral base, danger is you may become identified as unprincipled career politicians who did not do enough to defend social liberalism important to your party.

Ed Milliband under pressure?

In other countries a mayor or governor comes in with CV evidence they’re competent and to be trusted – what can British oppositions do between elections to demonstrate competence and strength of ideas? Only real way of assessing opposition leaders has to be how competitive they are in elections.

Benchmarked against 1980s and earlier, Labour leader today owns his party’s policies. His activists can’t be bothered to shape policy, they leave that to “the experts” – delegates turn up and applaud mouthing “he’s my leader and I support him.” DavidM was right, from EdM’s first hours he was somersaulting over “doorstep difficult” policy positions, most of those who supported the policies of government now smile and clap each u turn.

Despite the branding by the Tory media, I don’t see this crop of Labour leaders ideologically driven (compared to the likes of Benn, Foot, Crosland). In fact, on what EdM and Balls already say on immigration, Europe, cuts, tax, jobs etc they are hungry to be popular on doorsteps and win elections.

Ed Milliband: people giggle at your “squeezed middle” though its clear to me you know what you are doing and have no scruples doing it. The coming years will surely bring you electoral success.

East Brimstone has posted on many occasions during 2010 – this is his first guest slot